Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tahoe R&R

Before we got the referral, we'd planned a mini-vacation to Tahoe. With all that needs to be done, we'd considered canceling. We're sure glad we went. The weather was beautiful. One of the main reasons we went was to take a hike to Eagle Lake. We'd gone a couple of months back but couldn't hike all the way to the lake. This time, we went to the end of the trail and it sure was worth it. For most of the way, Luke was the leader. The little dictator even allowed us the occasional 10-second break. When we came over the ridge and saw the glimmer of the lake, any burdens we had just melted away. We found out later that the hike is 2 miles round-trip. Luke was a little trooper to have hiked that far....but it sure seemed like it was farther.


Last night (Monday), we picked up some chair rails for the room. Now Rick has no excuse to start doing his part.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Room After Weekend One

As planned, we spent the weekend preparing Bella's room. Ok, to be more accurate, Peggy painted the room. It's really coming along. The pink we (again, Peggy) chose is turning out to be a beautiful shade. We'll need need to add a chair rail and some closet shelves and we'll be good to go.

If you look carefully, you'll notice that this job took a lot of caffeine.

Before we got word of Isabella, we'd started on a treehouse for Luke. Ok, so technically, there's no house yet (it's just a raised platform). And the house isn't on a tree (just attached). But it's easier calling it a treehouse than "raised platform attached to tree".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Painting, Shopping, and Passport

We've had a flurry of activity since we received Isabella's referral. After months of putting it off, we've started painting and preparing her room. To be more accurate, Peggy (with Luke's help) have started painting. So far, they've primed so that it'll be ready for paint this weekend. It'll be a simple design of pink on top and white on the bottom with a chairrail separating the two. In the midst of this activity, we've taken a couple of breaks to shop. So far, we've purchased a dress, an outer sleepwear, a toy, and a disposable camera. All will be shipped to her orphanage. Many families who've adopted from the same orphanage in the past have received the camera back with recent pictures from her life in the orphanage.

Unfortunately, Rick will have to renew his passport. Although it won't expire until March '09, Chinese authorities request that it have at least 6 months remaining before a visa will be issued. I guess they don't want anyone to be stuck in their country without a valid passport. Luckily there's an expedite process to get it turned around in about two weeks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lists Lists Lists

Peg still makes fun of Rick for his lists. For our small wedding (<50 attendees), he made a by-minute pocket-sized schedule for the day, laminated it, and gave her one that morning. Of course, she didn't have a pocket in her wedding dress.

After months of doing nothing but checking sites and groups for news/rumors on referrals, we now have so much to do. To prepare for Isabella's room: 1) Paint Room, 2) Install closet, 3) Paint/prepare crib, 4) Install shutters (well, we didn't need it when it was just for storage....plus we probably couldn't reach the window when the room was jam-packed), 5) Install pink ceiling fan. We also have to prepare for the trip itself: 1) Get crisp currency, 2) Get visas, 3) Make travel arrangements, 4) Verify all paperwork is in order, 5) Shop. Uh....what else?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Isabella's Room

There was a time when we thought we'd have Isabella home by the end of December 2007. Then December rolled around without word. While we were disappointed, we were confident that we would receive our referral in January or February 2008. To prepare, we cleared out the room that will be Isabella's. (Believe me, that was a big step since that room has somehow evolved into our "storage" room, which is a nice way of describing our dumping ground.) We even bought the paint and planned the trimmings. Before we got around to painting, we heard that referrals would slow down as the entire country of China prepared for the Olympics. We thought, "Even if the referral comes a month or two later, we'll surely go before the Olympics, right?"

Yikes! Now we have to scramble and get her room set up and painted. Then we can refinish the crib and start shopping! Not to worry...we're going to hang her picture in the room as a reminder that ours is a labor of love.

Referral Package

We just got the referral package. Every piece of paper is so precious...it feels as if we're one step closer to touching our Isabella.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


We got the call!!!! Actually, to be more accurate, we called the agency before they called us (more details on that later). Her name is Yibai Jiang (soon to be Isabella Yibai Lin) from Guangxi. She was born on 8/12/07 and appears to be a very healthy girl. We'll get all the information from FedEx tomorrow.

So what happened is I (Rick) checked our Agency's site this morning and found the following message:
Bethany Christian Services just received 6 female referrals from Guangxi Province! Five are for our February 6, 2006 LID group and one is an expedited referral for a January 2007 LID. Congratulations!
Since our LID (Log In Date) was 1/11/07 and China often refers entire expedited months at a time, we wondered why our agency hadn't called us yet. So we called our case worker. It turns out she'd been in a staff meeting all morning and hadn't checked her email. So, she didn't even know until we called and prompted her to check her email!!

We'll share some of feelings/emotions later. We're busy calling everyone now! We'll post more information and a picture tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Our journey actually started soon after we brought Luke home from China. We'd decided early on that we wanted him to have a sibling. After waiting the requisite time, we started the paper chase. After close to a year, we submitted our dossier to China in December 2006. When we got Luke, it took about 3 1/2 months to get the referral. That time quickly passed. So we waited...and waited...and waited... We found out that referral times had greatly increased. Still, we were sure that we'd have her home in 2007. The year quickly passed.

At the beginning of each month (when referrals usually come out), we wondered, "Is this the month?" After a while, we learned to curb our expectations. Although our wait has been painfully long, we realize that we're one of the fortunate ones -- because Rick is Chinese, our application will be expedited. Expedited applications receive referrals ~1 year faster than non-expedites. While we've anguished, we also realized that others suffer more. As each month passed, our unspoken doubts loomed: what if we weren't expedited after all? what if something happened to our application? what if they found some reason to not accept our application?

Many people choose to adopt from China because it's well structured well relatively clear expectations. This unexpected wait has been especially difficult. We take comfort in believing that Isabella is out there and will be given to us at His perfect time.